Tony Evans stumbled on one of the main themes in his new book, Sacred Sex, several years ago. As he was researching a sermon series about knowing God, he discovered that the Bible uses the same word to describe intimacy between God and his children and a husband and his wife.
Evans notes that sex is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 4:1, when Moses uses the Hebrew word "yada" to describe relations between Adam and Eve. The word, broadly meaning "to know," is used more than 1,000 times in the Old Testament.
Whenever it is used to describe a relationship, Evans writes, "it indicates plumbing the depths of the reality of another person—or even plumbing the depths of the reality of God Himself." Sex should be "much more than mere physical contact, and only attainable in an atmosphere of total and deserved trust."
Instead of looking to newspaper columns and supermarket tabloids for relationship advice, Evans says we should look to the Scriptures, using Christ's self-sacrifice as a model for the love between a man and a woman.
Sacred sex should be "rooted in a sacrificial dying to yourself in such a way that means laying your will, pride and needs on the altar while considering the other as more important than yourself. ...The two partners share much more than some moments of passion. They share their secrets, their hearts' DNA, their fears, their hopes, their failures and even so much as their 'treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places.'"
In an era when television, music and films romanticize sex outside of marriage and Hollywood stars flit from one relationship to another, Evans counts the cost to our society in broken homes, damaged relationships, aborted children and sexually transmitted diseases.
Many Christians, even ones who have been married for a long time, suffer from the after-effects of past illicit relationships. God intended sex to be a spiritual relationship, and sex outside of marriage has eternal consequences. When a man and woman become one and then break apart, they "tear away a piece" of themselves, Evans writes.
Because of this, he advises men and women to decide in advance to resist temptation, instead of waiting to decide in the heat of the moment.
"You can't enjoy sex the way God intended you to enjoy it if you refuse to stay within the lines or boundaries he has made," he writes.